Despite our habit of complaining about them, we Canadians actually love our winters. In fact, we’re proud of them. They’re wonderful for curling up at home, visiting family and friends, and playing in the snow.
But our winter has a dark side, with the risk of power outages, frostbite, vehicle mishaps, and more. As with any danger, the key to survival is good preparation. Here are some helpful checklists for winter safety indoors, outdoors, and on the road. They’ll help you survive a Canadian winter in style.
√ Blackout Basics: Home is the coziest place to be during winter. Until there’s a power outage, that is. That’s when you’ll need three days of food and water, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered or crank-powered radio, candles, flashlights, and a few board games to pass the time, too.
√ Fire Logs: When waiting out cold snaps and nasty colds alike, a roaring fire makes your home into a sanctuary. But maintaining a woodpile can be impractical. Luckily, artificial logs burn for hours. No fireplace? You can fake it with an electric version or a portable space heater instead.
√ A Generator: During prolonged blackouts, a generator can power all your survival essentials, like the heaters we mentioned before and so much more. Just keep it full of fuel and stored away. Even if you never need to use it, it’s great to know it’s there.
√ Large Flashlight: If your car is stuck or can’t be driven safely, you might need to flag down assistance or head for nearby help on foot. In those cases, you’ll be glad to have a large, very bright flashlight to ensure you’re easily seen.
√ Quality Scraper & Shovel: Don’t be forced to push snow around with your boot or use the old credit card window-cleaning trick this winter. Get a full-sized shovel and a quality scraper, instead. You’ll thank yourself later.
√ A GPS Tracker: Planning a long winter car trip? There’s a good chance you’ll leave cellular reception far behind. So it’s always smart to let someone know where you’re headed. Even better? Give them the ability to track you via satellite.
√ Warming Pads: Being outdoors is exhilarating in the wintertime. But before long, your fingers and toes will start to smart. Or worse, they’ll become numb. Keep the fun going with heating pads for your hands and feet.
√ Insulated Drink Container: Canadians know the only thing better than a warm drink at home is one outdoors. If you’re headed out beyond the coffee shops (difficult in Canada, we know), a quality insulated container, like this one from Thermos, will save the day.
√ Phone Charger: You’ve been out all day taking and sharing pictures of your winter fun when you suddenly realize your battery is getting low. Sound familiar? For safety and convenience, carry a pocket-sized phone charger wherever you go.
Stay safe and enjoy the winter, everyone!
There is something particularly special about the fall season in beautiful Canada. Among our alpine lakes, sky-high mountains, lush forests, and crisp true north air, you can find autumn colours in so many parts of this grand country. So whether you’re heading out on a hike before the snow settles in, or you’d like to admire the red, orange, and yellow hues on Instagram from the comfort of your home, here are ten places you’ll find fall colours in Canada.
Head off the grid in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia, for alpine lakes that reflect the mountains and the changing colours of surrounding trees.
Drive the Icefields Parkway for an endless road lined with autumnal tones of yellow, orange, and dark green.
Take a walk on the wild side with the scenic Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta flanked by the Rocky Mountains.
It’s hard to ignore the stunning fall colours glistening on Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. How many times have you visited this beautiful place?
Dive into autumn at Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park, British Columbia. It might be cold, but it’s almost impossible not to take a quick swim while you’re there.
Witness fall in the Rockies with the sun lighting up all of the autumn tones. Visit the Kootenay National Park in British Columbia to see the incredible punch of yellow for yourself.
It’s a beautiful sight from Cypress Provincial Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. Catch the North Shore on a crisp sunny day with the leaves turning all colours of red and orange.
Muted fall colours of green and yellow framed by the Rocky Mountains shows just how picturesque the change in seasons can be.
Have you had the chance to experience Larch Valley in autumn? Head to Banff National Park in Alberta to find the larch trees turning a brilliant yellow before they shed their needles.
The road to autumn is in Mount Taynton, British Columbia, between the trees with the mountains in the distance.
For many Canadians, road trips remain a staple family holiday year round–and for good reason. Whether it’s for a quick weekend trip to the next town over or an extended cross-country drive, road trips provide a personal and adventurous vacation for even the most urban of travellers.
Revisit your childhood, make new memories and explore all Canada’s vast, rugged outdoors can offer by considering the following stunning road trips.
For those looking for a relaxing getaway and gorgeous scenic drive away from the city, consider heading to the Sunshine Coast in BC. A popular area for many local Vancouverites wanting to get away for the weekend, the Sunshine Coast boasts beautiful seaside cities and is only a couple of hours from downtown Vancouver. Grab a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, and visit attractions like Persephone, Farm Ventures, and more, all along the coast.
If you live on Vancouver Island or are just stopping by for a vacation, all you need is a car, friends, family and a good playlist before setting out on this breathtaking drive. Follow the Trans-Canada Highway along the eastern coast, and cut across Pacific Rim National Park Reserve while passing glistening lakes and rivers. In Tofino, take advantage of Canada’s rare surfing opportunities, embark on a fishing adventure, or explore the area’s many trails and beaches.
Osoyoos is world renowned as one of Canada’s best wine countries, and whether you’re planning to stay awhile or are just stopping through, the city is a summer paradise. A slightly longer road trip (approximately 5.5 hours) will take you across the majestic Kootenays and into the charming community of Kimberley, BC, allowing you to come across spectacular mountain and lake views year round.
For Calgary residents or anyone in the surrounding area seeking a road adventure that’s a little different than the usual visit to Banff National Park, head south into BC with Fernie in mind. Located on Highway 3, Fernie’s mountain backdrop provides the perfect space for avid hikers and trail runners looking to explore new terrain.
Although Saskatchewan is well known for its flat-ness, the prairie province is home to rich Canadian history, and showcases a number of vibrant communities and attractions. Beginning in Regina, make your way to Moosejaw, camp out at Craik & District Regional Park, and follow the Louis Riel Trail to Saskatoon, where you can enjoy the city’s nightlife.
It comes as no surprise that most (if not every) Canadian road trip will have you following–or at least crossing paths with–the famous Trans-Canada Highway. If you don’t have the entire 7800 km trip on your travel bucket list, you may want to consider it as an eye-opening way of seeing all the country has to offer. Before embarking on this epic journey, make sure you plan accordingly–the trip will take you about two weeks from Victoria to St. John’s—if you’re driving about 400 kilometres per day. Now that’s a road trip!
A route less travelled, but well worth the distance, is along Dempster Highway, from Dawson City in the Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. If you head out in late August, not only can you witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights in a truly unique way, but you’ll also come across the north’s mountain ranges and tundra: a view that most people only get to experience through photographs.
Running for 232 kilometres from Jasper to Banff in Alberta, the Icefields Parkway is a popular road trip set between sweeping meadows, waterfalls, glassy glacial lakes and snow-capped Rockies. While many may choose to hike the 6 kilometres to the Athabasca Glacier, other attractions include Peyto Lake, the Weeping Wall and the Glacier Sky Walk.
The ultimate road trip for foodies, the Gourmet Route in Quebec brings the term “farm to table” to life. A self-guided tour set along the St. Lawrence River, it is known as the first of its kind in the area, with 50+ stops along the way. Get a taste of the region’s culinary traditions (literally), and indulge in as many gourmet tastings as your stomach can handle.
The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia can be completed in five days (although you may want to extend your stay to truly soak up the views), and is a great option for a weeklong road trip. The trail wraps around the north of Cape Breton Island for 298 kilometres and provides unreal coastal hillside views along winding roads reminiscent of Canada’s Scottish and Acadian heritage. Hike through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and sample Atlantic seafood on your way home. Enjoy!
It’s summertime! And while the living may be easy, planning the perfect beach barbecue requires a bit of work. Beach days can be a fun way to bring friends and family together, especially if you don’t have outdoor space at homeㅡyou can make use of public beach facilities and get some swimming in too! We’ve got everything you need to throw the best beach barbecue this summer.
Obviously, the most important part of a beach barbecue is the barbecue! You’ll want a portable grill that is easy to set up. There may be restrictions in your area about the size of the barbecue or what kind of fuel it uses. In Vancouver, for example, any barbecue in a public park needs to be at least 75 cm off the ground. A good tabletop grill will suffice! In Alberta, check the current fire ban situation before you start planning your barbecue, but for most of the summer a gas or propane stove will be allowed.
Got to keep them drinks cold! We’ve got you covered with a ton of cooler options, including this fashionable Thermos Heritage Cooler in a classic check pattern and this 36 litre Igloo Wheelie Cooler (drinks and ice get heavy!).
It’s fun to hang out in the sand, but you at least need something to sit on to keep that sand out of your food. Beach towels offer double duty as a place to sit and tool to dry you off after a dip in the water. This donut printed towel is a fun pick!
If you would rather sit off the ground, there’s a number of camping chair options that will get you up higher. A foldable chair or two is easy to stash in your car trunk.
Nothing gets the party started like some tunes! Bring a portable bluetooth speaker and play music directly from your smartphone. You’ll be the coolest person at the beach.
For kids and kids at heart, pack some games for your party. Golf toss is easy to play and tons of fun. Bocce is another great option that requires even less equipment. Even just a frisbee can make a beach day better!
Last but not least, a beach barbecue needs food! Food, drinks, and things to put those on and in. Burgers and hot dogs are the classic barbecue foods, but if you want to up your game and impress your friends, bring some corn on the cob and grill it up elote-style. The Mexican street dish is easier to make than you think!
Compostable paper plates are a great option for the beach, but if you have particularly liquid or greasy foods, plastic may be a better choice. For drinks, you can stick to cans and bottles, or you can class it up with cute enamel camping mugs. Just like dad used to have!
Make the most of the sunny days and breezy nights by spending time outside this summer. No matter what you choose to do, it’s always more fun with friends!
Canadians love the outdoors. Winter through autumn (yes, that’s how we say it), we spend plenty of time among the woods, mountains and streams.
We love nature so much that to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, each citizen can request a free National Parks Pass.
We Canadians know about outdoor winter safety, emergency preparedness, and first aid. Still, there have been times when we wish we’d brought something else outdoors with us. The perfect tool, treat, or technology to make the day better. Yup, we’ve learned some mighty hard lessons.
9. Hand Warmers: We happily put up with a lot in Canada to enjoy time outside, but cold fingertips are not high on that list. Sometimes, gloves and mittens alone don’t cut it. And they aren’t practical for certain activities. For those times, we’re glad to have hand warmers. The heat is created by rapidly oxidizing iron inside the packs. But we mainly care about how great it is to have access to literal pockets of warmth all day.
8. A Can Opener: Some resourceful Canadians are able to open a can using a pocket knife or even a rock. But nothing opens cans quite like a can opener, and few forgotten items are more of a pain to do without. You can also take eating outdoors to the next level with the Eat’N Tool, an all-in-one cutlery tool that doubles as both a screwdriver and a wrench!
7. Portable Phone Charger: Some might wonder why you’d need a phone in the woods. There are at least two good reasons. The first is to keep your social media game on point. But the other, of course, is to use the phone in case of emergency. So make sure to bring backup power. That way, you won’t have to worry about using up battery life getting the perfect waterfall shot.
6. A Watch: While it’s true a phone can be great outdoors, for the reasons listed above and others, one thing we hate to be without in the woods is a plain old-fashioned wristwatch. You shouldn’t have to pull your phone out just to check the time. Plus, outdoor and adventure watches often have other handy functions. One of the best features is that they’re generally much more waterproof than a phone!
5. This Survival Bracelet: You can file this under ‘stuff we didn’t know we always wanted until we found out it exists.’ This simple looking bracelet, designed by Gerber with help from Bear Grylls, is more than a fashion statement. It contains 12 feet of incredibly strong nylon paracord. You can use it to get out of any number of scrapes, unless you leave it at home.
4. Adhesive Tensor: It goes without saying you should bring a first aid kit wherever you go. But one thing you’ll be glad to have in it is this adhesive bandage that attaches right to the skin to provide extra joint stability. Since you never know when you’ll twist an ankle, it’s better to just keep this around.
3. Calorie-Dense Snacks: When you’re exerting significant energy outdoors, whether you’re hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or biking, a hunger-killing snack is just what you need. We’re talking energy bars, dried fruit, granola, that sort of thing. If you don’t pack such a snack, you could easily become fatigued. Or worse, you might get hangry.
2. Duct Tape: Is there a problem duct tape can’t help to solve? Probably. But we haven’t found very many so far. From fixing equipment to patching a tent, and so much more, duct tape absolutely has you covered. We never like to be caught without it in the great outdoors. Actually, we prefer not to be without it anywhere.
1. Fresh Dry Socks: There are so many threats to foot comfort in the Canadian outdoors. Cold weather, combined with more rivers and lakes than any country in the world, means your toes are likely to get wet and/or cold. So you’ll be glad to have an extra pair of socks in your backpack any time of year.
For many, roughing is just rough. They like the outdoors, but not being uncomfortable. And separation from technology sounds like the start of a spooky campfire story. For them, now there’s “glamping.” A combination of glamorous and camping, it’s pretty self-explanatory.